Book Bloggers Abroad (20) – USA


Book Bloggers AbroadWelcome to the weekly guest post in the Book Bloggers Abroad series. Every week a book blogger from a different country will be featured who will talk about what it’s like to be a book blogger where he or she lives.


Our guest blogger for today is Cathy from the USA. Her book blog is called Kittling: Books. She reads and reviews mystery books. She also runs a weekly feature called Scene of the Blog, in which a blogger shows pictures of where they blog and read. A great feature for nosy people like me! Go and have a look at her blog!

I live in the center of one of the largest metropolitan areas (in population and land area) in the United States, Phoenix, Arizona with my husband, Denis. While I am a transplant from a small farming village in the state of Illinois, my husband is a naturalized citizen who grew up in Lancashire, England. Phoenix is in the Sonoran Desert and has the hottest climate of any major US city– on par with Riyadh and Baghdad– but don’t picture something like the Sahara Desert in your mind. There are no sand dunes here, and after plentiful winter rains, the desert is awash with acres and acres of colorful wildflowers. Winters are mild, and brilliant sunlight is normal here.


On the Trail in the Mojave Desert

On the Trail in the Mojave Desert shows our beloved Jeep in the northwest corner of the state exploring the Mojave Desert... miles from the nearest town or ranch. One of our favorite things to do!

If desert summers are too much for you, the Pacific Ocean is a six-hour drive away, or there are high mountain ranges, lakes and thick forests less than two hours away. Arizona is one of the most diverse states in the country. There’s something for everyone, and one of the things Denis and I love to do is pack a cooler and jump in the Jeep to explore trails within the state.

The Poisoned Pen

The Poisoned Pen

In town, there are excellent city and university libraries as well as wonderful bookshops for voracious readers. My favorite is The Poisoned Pen, which caters to crime fiction readers like me. If you’d like to see more of the inside, you can always take a look at one of my blog posts.

I don’t do well with returning library books on time, so I tend to either buy the books I read or swap them through Paperback Swap. Denis mainly listens to audio books and gets almost everything he needs through the Phoenix library system. Neither one of us has a problem obtaining the books we want to read!

I have plenty of time to read and blog because I was laid off work (after 26 years). Although I don’t miss being employed, I am checking into various work-at-home options. Denis and I would like to travel to the UK again, which means a bit more money has to be coming into the bank account!


The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved...

Grand Canyon - Image via Wikipedia


Most people around the world, if they’ve heard of Arizona at all, have heard of the Grand Canyon. Well over five million people visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon each year. In choosing something different, I find the task to be almost impossible. Should I choose the one and only trail on which you can drive down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon?


Apache Trail

Apache Trail: shows the eastern side of the Valley of the Sun (what we call the Phoenix metropolitan area). This road goes through the Superstition Mountains (Lost Dutchman Mine) past lakes and some magnificent scenery, and eventually turns into a dirt trail.


Should I choose my favorite canyon– Canyon de Chelly? My favorite museum– the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum? My favorite county– Cochise County, Arizona, where you can watch thousands of migrating cranes in the winter, walk the streets of Tombstone, and travel trails high up into the sky islands? Not everyone is lucky enough to live exactly where they want to be. I am one of the lucky ones. I’ve been in 30 of these United States, and Arizona is where I choose to live. (Denis doesn’t miss the rain and cool weather of England, either!).


South Mountain Park

Mike at South Mountain Park. South Mountain Park is at the southern edge of the Valley of the Sun and is the largest city park in the US. You can see the entire metropolitan area from here.


Phoenix has mild winters and well over 300 days of sunshine per year. Unless it’s actually raining (average annual rainfall is about seven inches total), I can sit outside practically any day that I like. Of course, it’s a bit warm in the summer, so I’ve learned how to sit in the pool in the shade and read without getting my books wet. On days when I read inside, I usually sit in my recliner in the family room or sprawl across our bed. I also take a book with me wherever I go to take advantage of “hurry-up-and-waits”.


Summer Reading Spot

Summer Reading Spot where I sit in the pool under the shade of the umbrella to read. (Yes, it's a rough life!)


Although Arizona has several excellent authors who write about the state, I’m going to choose Jon Talton. His David Mapstone mystery series, which begins with Concrete Desert, is set right here in Phoenix. The stories and characters are excellent, and Talton gets Phoenix and its history just right.


Click on the world for a Google Maps picture!

Thanks Cathy, for letting us have a look at your life as a reader and blogger. The only time I went to the USA I went to Arizona and it’s so beautiful! Yes, I did visit the Grand Canyon and I hope you don’t mind me adding a picture of it – it’s such a fantastic place! As is your favorite reading spot!

Don’t forget to take a look at Cathy’s blog. If you have any questions or comments for Cathy, just leave them in the comments section.

Next week Larissa from Brazil will be visiting us for the twenty-first Book Bloggers Abroad guest post. Don’t miss it!

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

36 Responses to Book Bloggers Abroad (20) – USA

  1. Dorte H says:

    Hi Cathy!

    Nice to meet you and one of your great posts here on Judith´s blog 😀

  2. amymckie says:

    Wow. I’m officially very jealous. It sounds lovely there!!

  3. Judith, Can I just say again that I love this feature on your blog? I read each entry faithfully, even if I don’t actually comment.

    Cathy, I absolutely love love love Arizona, and seriously considered moving there some years ago (ended up heading east to Massachusetts). I would love to go back to visit again someday, and your post is making me want to book airfare right now!!


    • leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Sarah. I don’t always have a good idea how popular these posts are, as sometimes there aren’t many comments. It’s good to know you’re there in the back ground every time! 🙂

      Maybe you’ll do a guest post, too?

    • Cathy says:

      I agree, Sarah. This is a wonderful feature, although you’d never guess I like it because I seldom comment either. Shame on me!

      I’m glad you liked my post. I’ve been called an unofficial spokesperson for the Department of Tourism a time or two!

  4. Yay! I love her blog!! And The Poisoned Pen looks incredible — I love their corner front store! I must visit…!

  5. Cathy says:

    Yes, please! Help support my favorite place of business in Phoenix! LOL

  6. bermudaonion says:

    Great post! I’d love to visit Phoenix (and Cathy) some day!

  7. Kris says:

    It sounds wonderful Cathy! One of these days I’ll get there..and not just for the Grand Canyon (which I believe I’ve been to but it was so long ago I don’t remember).

    I also didn’t realize that Cochise County is a real county, if my memory doesn’t fail me that’s the location of one of my favorite mystery series, the Joanna Brady series by J. A. Jance.

    • Cathy says:

      Joanna Brady is indeed the Cochise County Sheriff. Cochise County is larger than some of the states in this country, so there are a lot of miles to cover. It also shares a border with Mexico, which means that there is a very real problem with illegal immigrants. Cochise County– home of the Gunfight at the OK Corral, Geronimo, Boot Hill– it’s a wonderful place!

  8. LindyLouMac says:

    I already follow Cathy and her blog Kittling Books but I knew nothing about her so it was great to read this post today, thankyou 🙂

  9. Marce says:

    Hi Cathy, what lovely pictures. I love your reading spot and glad you have figured out how to relax and not get the books wet 🙂

    I am happy to have recently found you, I think from the RIP Challenge.

    • Cathy says:

      I didn’t participate in the RIP Challenge. Perhaps it was Mailbox Monday? Wherever it was, I’m glad that we read each others’ blogs and enjoy them. 🙂

  10. Amused says:

    I’ve been to Phoenix a ton because one of my grandma’s lives there and it looks like you really did Phoenix proud with this post! I know in the middle of winter we are all jealous of you 🙂

  11. shelleyrae@ Book'd Out says:

    What a gorgeous place!

  12. Pingback: It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? « Leeswammes' Blog

  13. I vacation in Arizona quite a bit, ever since I bought a time share that has some resorts there. My favorite place is Sedona, but I have also enjoyed Flagstaff…and the Grand Canyon, of course!

    Thanks for sharing…and I need to check out that bookstore next time I go!

    • leeswammes says:

      You lucky woman, Laurel-Rain! I loved Arizona when I went there years ago. We had lunch in Flagstaff and stayed in Sedona for a few nights. So beautiful!

    • Cathy says:

      Sedona is gorgeous. Denis and I spent a week there in a gorgeous resort. Almost every day we were in the Jeep and out on the trails.

  14. chasing bawa says:

    300 days of sunshine??? I’m SO jealous! The Grand Canyon is one place I would really like to visit. It sounds like you’ve found the perfect place to live.

  15. Love the pics! I haven’t been to AZ, but I DID send my mom and my oldest daughter over to the Grand Canyon (my mom’s dream vacay) as a surprise when they went to see my brother graduate from Boulder. It was a wonderful trip for them! Thanks for sharing the pics and your story!

    • Cathy says:

      You’re welcome, Julie. Hopefully you’ll get to see it for yourself one day. Try to go to the North Rim. A lot less congested and even more beautiful because the elevation is much higher.

  16. Thanks for sharing Cathy. You just showed me again why I consider the American southwest my second home. Love it…

  17. bethfishreads says:

    I loved this post and a chance to get to know Cathy better. And I’m totally jealous of her access to good bookstores and beautiful countryside. Oh and let’s not even get me talking about the pool.

    • Cathy says:

      You’re welcome any time. Now that the water is too cold, I still enjoy sitting and watching huge dragonflies dance back and forth just above the surface.

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